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Lighting up rural Malawi with micro-hydro - An update on MEGA

Sub-Saharan Africa
29. May 2014

For those who are interested in how the Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency (MEGA) is progressing, here is a quick update! MEGA is a social energy business, installing and running micro hydro systems (MHS) around Mulanje Mountain in Malawi on behalf of local communities. We plan to install up to 10 systems over the next several years.

MEGA is well into the start up phase. It has been registered as a limited company and inhabits offices in Chitakale, Mulanje, with Management in place and an active Board. We are currently awaiting licensing approval to generate and distribute electricity from the regulatory authority in Malawi, and ticking off other statutory requirements.

Intake canal for the functional micro-hydro scheme

We have one MHS installed using a pelton-wheel turbine to generate 88 kW. We have connected more than 150 houses to date, and are in an extended testing phase pending licensing approval. We have started to install pre-paid meters to those connected, and are building our billing databases and establishing payment systems. The community is hopefully well prepared for 'B-Day' when we will start charging for the power they have enjoyed free to date!

We have a second scheme currently being installed on the same river, of a comparable size (around 90 kW) to the first scheme, and which will cater for an additional set of households adjacent to the first. We are hoping this will be installed by September, and operational (with licenses) by the end of the year. This will use a Nepalese-sourced cross flow turbine.

Intake pool for MEGA's second scheme in Upper Bondo

We are also doing a pre-feasibility study on a third scheme on a different river, for potential donor financing.


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